Where to Find Geodes in New Mexico? Best Spots


New Mexico is one of the best states in the US to look for geodes. So, if you are wondering where to find geodes in New Mexico, this guide is for you as we will look at some of the popular spots for rockhounding.

New Mexico, known for its diverse landscapes and rich geological formations, is a haven for rockhounds and treasure seekers. Among the state’s hidden treasures are geodes, and spherical rocks with crystal-filled cavities that captivate collectors and enthusiasts alike.

If you’re eager to embark on a geode-hunting adventure, New Mexico offers a plethora of locations that promise the thrill of discovery. What’s best is that these areas are open for public use – including rockhounding.

What Are New Mexico Geodes?

missouri geodes

New Mexico geodes are unique geological formations that have captivated rock enthusiasts and collectors for their stunning crystal-filled interiors. Geodes are spherical or oblong-shaped rocks that contain hollow cavities lined with crystals, minerals, or other formations.

These captivating structures are often hidden beneath an unassuming exterior, and the thrill of discovering the treasures within is what makes geode hunting in New Mexico so exciting.

The geodes found in New Mexico are typically composed of a variety of minerals, with quartz crystals being one of the most common components.

Types of Geodes Found in New Mexico

Let’s take a look at some common types of geodes that you can find in New Mexico:

  • Agate geodes
  • Calcite geodes
  • Quartz geodes
  • Amethyst geodes

How We Picked the Best Spots for Finding Geodes in New Mexico

When it comes to choosing the best spots for mining geodes in New Mexico, we had to consider a lot of things such as:

  • Understanding of our team about the area.
  • Recommendations from the local mining groups.
  • Accessibility to the mining area.
  • Safety and potential hazards.
  • Private and public locations.

Also, look at our gem mining spots in Kentucky and the best spots to find geodes in Missouri

Where to Find Geodes in New Mexico

Here are some popular spots to find geodes in New Mexico:

  1. Elk Horn Park
  2. Abiquiu Lake
  3. La Madera Mine
  4. Sante Fe National Forest
  5. Sapillo Creek
  6. Jarilla Mountains
  7. Pecos River

Elk Horn Park

Elk Horn Park

Nestled in the heart of the Gila National Forest, Elk Horn Park is a picturesque destination for geode enthusiasts. The park is renowned for its diverse geological features, including quartz, agate, and, of course, geodes.

Geodes at Elk Horn Park are often embedded in volcanic rocks, and their exteriors may blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. So, focus on areas with visible signs of volcanic activity, such as basalt formations and lava flows.

Elk Horn Park is a protected area, so be sure to follow all rules and regulations to preserve its natural beauty for future generations.

Abiquiu Lake

Abiquiu Lake

Abiquiu Lake is located in northern New Mexico. It is not only a serene reservoir but also a promising location for geode hunting. The lake’s shoreline and surrounding areas boast sedimentary rocks, including limestone and shale, which can contain geodes.

To find geodes, make sure to explore the exposed rock formations along the shore as geodes are often hidden underneath sedimentary rocks. If you are planning to visit, be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the high desert climate can be unpredictable.

La Madera Mine

La Madera Mine

For a more immersive geode-hunting experience, venture to the La Madera Mine in north-central New Mexico. This abandoned fluorite mine has become a hotspot for rockhounds seeking geodes and other minerals.

Before heading to La Madera Mine, obtain any necessary permits and permissions, as the site may be on private land. Once there, explore the mine’s tailings and waste rock piles, where geodes can be found nestled among discarded materials.

Be prepared for harsh weather conditions, due to the mine’s elevation. Bring appropriate clothing and equipment.

Santa Fe National Forest

Santa Fe National Forest

Santa Fe National Forest, with its diverse landscapes and elevations ranging from 5,000 to 13,000 feet, is a geode hunter’s paradise.

The forest encompasses a variety of geological formations, including sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks, providing ample opportunities for discovery.

Focus on areas with exposed rocks to find geodes. Look for signs of erosion, as geodes may be hidden underneath the rock formations. Creeks and streambeds can also be fruitful locations, as water action often exposes geodes over time.

Sapillo Creek

Sapillo Creek

Sapillo Creek is located in southwestern New Mexico. The creek cuts through layers of sedimentary rocks, exposing formations that may contain hidden treasures.

The area is known for its colorful jasper and agate, making it an enticing destination for rock enthusiasts. When exploring Sapillo Creek, pay attention to the creek’s banks and exposed rock formations. Geodes can be embedded in the soft, sedimentary rocks prevalent in the area.

Jarilla Mountains

Jarilla Mountains

The Jarilla Mountains, situated in southern New Mexico, are a lesser-known but promising destination for geode hunters. This mountainous region is characterized by diverse rock formations, including limestone and volcanic rocks, creating an ideal environment for geodes to form.

Geodes may be concealed within the rocks, so a keen eye and patience are essential. Given the remote nature of the Jarilla Mountains, be prepared for challenging terrain and limited amenities.

Pecos River

Pecos River

The Pecos River, winding its way through the eastern and central regions of New Mexico, offers a unique setting for geode hunting. The river exposes layers of sedimentary rocks, creating opportunities to discover geodes along its banks and in adjacent areas.

To find geodes, focus on areas along the Pecos River where water has eroded the rocks, exposing hidden gemstones. Keep in mind that water levels can vary, so exercise caution and be aware of changing conditions.

Other Places to Dig for Geodes in New Mexico

Apart from the areas mentioned above, there are plenty of other areas where you can find geodes. Here are some of our top recommendations:

  • Alum Mountain (banded agate geodes)
  • Luna in Catron County (amethyst geodes)
  • Deming, Luna County
  • Canyon area of La Madera

Necessary Tools Required for Mining Geodes in New Mexico

Before hunting for geodes in New Mexico,  make sure you have the required set of professional tools and equipment. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Shovels and Trowels: For digging into softer soil, you need a sturdy shovel or a trowel. It also helps clear away the debris on the surface.
  2. Buckets: As you uncover gems, you need buckets to place them. Make sure you have durable buckets for the job to make sure your gems remain undamaged.
  3. Picks and hammers: To split rocks, and extract gems, you need a pick with one pointed end, and the other flat that serves as a hammer.
  4. Magnifying glass: For a closer inspection of your specimen, you need a magnifying glass to reveal details that are not visible to the naked eye.
  5. Zip-lock bags: As you collect gems, you need clear plastic containers or bags to store them. It also allows you to see the gems without having to open the bag.
  6. First aid kit: Mining is a risky venture, so make sure to keep a first aid kit with you at all times so you can address accidents or injuries promptly.

New Mexico Rockhounding Laws

Rockhounding is considered a legal activity in New Mexico in most areas. However, you are not allowed to collect at certain locations, so make sure to get all the information you need before hunting for geodes.

Rockhounding is not allowed on private lands, so make sure to obtain permission before collecting geodes. Similarly, government-owned land like National Forests in New Mexico also has a set of rules and regulations that rockhounders must follow before collecting geodes and other rocks.

You can check out the New Mexico Department of Wildlife’s Public Land Maps for more details.


New Mexico, with its diverse geological features and varied landscapes, provides a treasure trove of opportunities for geode hunters. From the rugged terrains of Elk Horn Park to the serene shores of Abiquiu Lake, each location offers a unique experience for rock enthusiasts seeking the thrill of discovery.

Whether you’re a seasoned rockhound or a newcomer to the world of geode hunting, New Mexico’s hidden gems await your exploration. Happy hunting!

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